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O-Zone: Simple words, simple mind

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Chris from Jacksonville:
I'm starting to realize how lucky we are to have a patient owner. There's no pressure to sign big-name free agents so we can win next year. We aren't wasting draft value chasing players to fill immediate needs. In short, we are building for the long haul. It is becoming increasingly clear that Dave Caldwell had a long-term plan and seems to be executing it to perfection. I'm excited to see what we look like in two-to-three years, and excitement can be, well ... exciting.
John: There's no question it's a positive for this franchise that Owner Shad Khan is willing to be patient. While patience is not always rewarded in sports – this is real life, after all, with uncertain outcomes – impatience and panicky personnel moves almost always yield disjointed, disappointing results. While I often have said fans are not usually – and should not be expected to be – patient, it's a different story for an owner, where impatience can cause franchises to spend years spinning their collective wheels in the gravel of mediocrity. But, really, it's not surprising Khan thus far has been patient. He's an intelligent man and witnessed first-hand some aimless free-agent spending in 2012. He didn't want to repeat those mistakes, and after listening to Caldwell and Gus Bradley lay out a long-term plan in 2013 he so far has allowed that plan to be followed. And yes, Caldwell thus far pretty clearly has taken measured, wise steps. What those steps will bring we should start seeing soon.
Zac from Orange Park, FL:
Vic Beasley or Dante Fowler Jr. Who do you pick, and why?
John: Fowler, because he's a GA-A-A-A-T-O-O-R!!!! Actually, you pick Fowler because he's projected as the top pass rusher in the draft, and because he's reportedly a high-motor guy whose skills should translate to the NFL.
Clayton from Jacksonville:
Does Caldwell saying "everything they are doing is to help Bortles" indicate the possibility of a blue-chip wide receiver at No. 3 (Amari Cooper or Kevin White)? If so, who do you prefer? White's measurable and combine results are "flashy" but he scares me as a one-year wonder. Cooper, though not quite as big or 40-yard-dash fast, has a proven record. Also, can Cooper be a true No. 1 at his size?
John: Caldwell did say the offseason moves were all about helping Bortles, but I wouldn't take that to mean much when it comes to predicting who the Jaguars will draft. Remember, you can help a young quarterback by improving defensively, too; in fact, there may be no better way to help a young, developing quarterback than ensuring he doesn't have to throw every play in the second half every week. As for the specifics of your question, I don't see the Jaguars going receiver at No. 3 in April, but I get that it's going to be a topic. I don't know that Cooper can be a true No. 1 in the sense of a Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall. Those are players with dominant physical size, but players such as Steve Smith and Marvin Harrison have been No. 1s despite not having prototypical big receiver measurables.
John from Ramsey, NJ:
Hello, Johnny-O. I see most mock drafts have us taking Dante Fowler, Jr., at No. 3. I'm just thinking, though … if the Titans don't take Leonard Williams at No. 2, and he is available, wouldn't the local kid be the wiser choice? He's another local hero and would help strengthen our defensive front. Just not sure if he is a more natural defensive tackle or end. What are your thoughts?
John: My thoughts are that most mock drafts that project Fowler boldly to the Jaguars at No. 3 do so with the assumption that Leonard Williams will be gone by the time the Jaguars are on the clock. If the Titans pass on Williams at No. 2 I think the Jaguars will seriously, seriously, seriously consider taking Williams at No. 3. While he's not a "natural" pass-rushing defensive end, he is a very natural fit for the five-technique, strong-side defensive end. Those are hard to find, but when they're good they can be dominant.
John from Neptune Beach from Game 1:
An 18-game schedule opens the door for the rivalry games.
John: Yes, it also opens the door to 22-game schedules including the Super Bowl and two more weeks at the end of the season to have attrition become an increasing part of the NFL equation. In an era when player safety is a front-and-center issue it seems counter intuitive to add games to the schedule. But that'$ hardly to $ay there'$ no chance of it happening.
Chris from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John! I'm excited about this team. But I think the key to the whole team is the offensive line becoming a unit and protecting Blake. Do you see Luke becoming that elite LT that we drafted him to be?
John: He has a chance. He also has a long way to go.
Allo from J-Ville:
O-man, as I stated before on this site. I am not impressed with what was done in the offseason with free agency (cool new guys) and re-signing a guy who was a part of a o-line that allowed 70-plus sacks is stupid. No slot receiver in FA, no RB in FA, no defensive game changer in FA. Tell me this, what are we gonna do about the Texans? Vince Woodford, Jadeveon Clowney, and JJ Watts. Huh O-man, tell me what are the Jags gonna do about that?
John: It's Vince "Wilfork" and it's J.J. "Watt." The Jaguars also re-signed Austin Pasztor as an exclusive rights free agent for depth on the offensive line. As far as … oh, nevermind. It's your right to not like what the Jaguars did in free agency. I don't feel like arguing it this morning.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
You should tell MJD that running-game success depends more on the offensive line and overall offense than it does on the runner. I'm guessing his response would be him laughing in your face: 1,600 yards with who on the O Line and who at receiver? Meanwhile Garrard was not exactly Mr. Rodgers. Wisdom.
John: He can laugh all he wants, and I've said often Maurice Jones-Drew's season in 2011 was as impressive a season as I ever have witnessed for a running back. That doesn't change the reality of running backs in the modern NFL. While there are exceptions to everything, generally speaking the effectiveness of the running game is more about the offensive line and the offense functioning around him than the running back himself. And neither Garrard nor Mr. Rodgers played for the 2011 Jaguars. It was Mr. Gabbert, thanks very much.
Nick from Copenhagen, Denmark:
What is your expectation for the D for next season? Seems like they should be able to improve on last season.
John: I think the defense overall should be improved, particularly the secondary. I also think the unit will benefit from having Telvin Smith in his second year, with experience likely helping him improve on a very good end to his rookie season. I don't know that I expect the defensive line to improve on its sacks total. Having said that, I believe the line will be better. The way it can do that is getting more consistent pressure and being more stout and more consistent against the run, and with the addition of Jared Odrick and potentially another young pass rusher, those second two goals could be attained.
Strnbker from Dothan, AL:
Do you think Dave and Gus have another one or two players, most teams are not overly familiar with, on their radar from the Senior Bowl?
John: Sure.
Michael from Asheville, NC and Section Section 131:
Why are you so high on Dante Fowler Jr.? His measurables show as a tweener and he didn't show great productivity. Give me your reasoning on him going No. 3 overall.
John: I think you can ask nicer than that.
Chris from Jacksonville:
With Jedd Fisch gone do you think we will see Allen Hurns digress with a new coordinator? I ask only because I felt like his play last year was a direct result of being familiar with the system so he could play fast and make the most of his talent. He won't have that luxury this year.
John: Hurns certainly benefitted from knowing Jedd Fisch's offense last season. At the same time, it's not fair to Hurns to say that was the only reason he was able to be productive. It's one thing to know an offense; it's quite another to make big plays against NFL competition.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
"If you love a flower, don't pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be." –Osho
John: "If you see a cockroach, step on it. My wife hates those things." – Oehser

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